By Amanda Massara.

Once upon a time there was a Chestnut Julip Hunter. He had long elegant legs and a fiery mane and tail in bright orange mohair. His early life is a mystery and our story actually starts one day in October 1998 at the B.E.C.F. championship show......

A friend had purchased the hunter from an antiques market and handed him on to me as I collect Julips. He was in a sorry condition. He had suffered with four broken lower legs and perished rubber.

I took him home and surveyed the damage. Firstly the mane had to be removed as it was going thin in places and was falling out of its own accord. The next step was to slice off his legs at the places where the wires were broken. , It was a case of being cruel to be kind. Poor hunter spent most of Christmas flat out on my work desk with new wire supports being set into his legs. This involved slicing the leg up the back, inserting a new piece of wire and gluing it in to place.

Once the wires had had time to set, I began to rebuild the missing lower limbs with terracotta Miliput, which is a kind of epoxy putty that dries in air. Once all four legs were rebuilt he was able to stand steadily on my work desk once more.

He needed new hair. I had recently bought some artificial hair. Hunter was destined to be re painted as a bay horse with black hair. This is when I thought of the name Bayard for him.

Bayard is a French legend. He was a Large bay horse who is said to have belonged to Reynaud son of the Duke of Dordon, Circa 770 A.D. there are lots of stories about Reynaud and Bayard but I chose the name for its “Back -from-the-dead” qualities.

The Emperor Charlemagne hated Reynaud because Reynaud had killed Charlemagne’s nephew with a chess board! (Don’t ask!) After many adventures, with Reynaud and Bayard taunting and getting the better of Charlemagne every time, Charlemagne offered a bargain, The vendetta against his family would cease if Reynaud went on a pilgrimage and Bayard was handed over to Charlemagne. This was agreed, Charlemagne hated Bayard so much that he had a millstone tied around the horse's neck and had the animal thrown from a bridge into a deep river. Bayard struck at the millstone with his hooves until he broke it. He swam from the river and galloped away into the French forest never to be seen again.

Romantic story eh? I liked the sentiment of it so Bayard he was.

The painting was done by hand which is unusual as I normally airbrush my models. I did the shading with a sponge using acrylic paints which will adhere to just about any material . My favourite part of the painting process is adding the markings and features. You can go a bit mad with the expressions on Julips as they all have to have a bit more character than models made from other kinds of materials.

Fully reconstructed, repainted and rehaired. Ready for action again.

I am happy to report that Bayard is now fit and well. Truly a case of Happily ever after Don't you think?


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